Sherwood girls appear ready to step up again
SHERWOOD — Last year, the Sherwood High School girls basketball team came oh so close to earning a Class 6A state tournament berth.
After powering their way through a daunting Three Rivers League schedule, the Lady Bowmen got a Class 6A first-round state playoff victory at Forest Grove and then pushed Beaverton to the limit in a second-round state playoff contest, leading the Beavers (who went on to win the third-place trophy at the state tournament) in the fourth quarter before falling 25-17.
The good news for Sherwood is that the majority of the players from last year's team return this year.
"We lost only one player to graduation last year but she was an amazing one," Sherwood coach Wes Pappas said. "(First-team All-Three Rivers League guard) Lauren Scarvie led the team in scoring, assists and rebounds so she will be tough to replace. We will have to have several kids step up and replace her production by committee this season."
Among the top returnees for the Lady Bowmen, who went 13-13 on the season last year, is senior guard Aubrie Emmons (5-foot-9), who was a second-team All-Three Rivers League pick a year ago.
"She can score from inside or out, and has developed into a great passer," Pappas said of Emmons, who is starting her fourth season on the Sherwood varsity.
The Lady Bowmen have another returning starter in senior guard Alex Verkamp (5-11).
"She is one of the best defensive players I have ever coaches, as well as a strong leader," Pappas said.
Junior guard Ava Boughey (5-5) in another returning starter for Sherwood.
"She is really emerging for us," Pappas said.
At the post, Sherwood has yet another returning starter in senior Kaytlin Cooke (5-11).
"She is much improved and holds down the middle of the paint for us," Pappas said.
The Lady Bowmen have even more key returnees from last year's team.
"Other players that could emerge, and have monster seasons for us include junior guard Julia Leitzinger (5-9) who can really shoot it and was very impressive last summer," Pappas said. "Sophomore guard Joley Sproul (5-8) has looked awesome in early season practices and has the athletic ability to make a big impact, as does sophomore wing Kylah Williams (5-8). Sproul and Williams have unlimited potential."
The Bowmen also return another key player in the post in senior Cali Etherington (5-10).
"She is a smart and consistent player that brings some big-game experience to the mix," Pappas said.
Other players on the Sherwood varsity roster include freshman guard/post Mandi Jensen (5-8), freshman post Sara Ellerton (5-9) and freshman post Klaira Ray (5-10).
This year, the Lady Bowmen, as well as other Sherwood teams, are moving from the Three Rivers League to the Pacific Conference.
"A team goal of ours is to win league this year but we know that it will be tough," Pappas said. "Although it's not at the level of our former league, there are several good teams in this new league with several proven coaches that will consistently have their teams ready to play. I see about four of us having a realistic shot at a league title. I see Liberty as the most talented team on paper but knowing some of these strong coaches in this league, I know that there will be a lot of knocking off favored teams on Tuesday and Friday nights."
In addition to its league schedule, Sherwood looks to have a difficult non-league slate this season.
"I think we have a challenging preseason schedule," Pappas said. "We play several teams early that have year-round kids and we mostly don't. It will take a while for us to get up to speed but if everything goes according to plan I feel we can be in the discussion as a top-10 team by seasons end."
The Lady Bowmen open their season on Friday, when they host. St. Mary's Academy in a non-league game starting at 7 p.m. On Tuesday, Sherwood will be home to face Tualatin in a 7 p.m. non-league contest.